We continue with fundraising meetings, correspondence and some follow up work with media organisations. Over the last few months we have communicated with a lot of media, from regional to national organisations as well as international news teams from the USA and European countries.
We always try to accommodate media requests for information. We take donations from the public, so we believe that we should be publicly accountable for our work. This means that we do always consciously try to respond to the media.
However working with the media has to come after our first priority which is teaching children. For example Sky News asked us a few weeks ago to talk about the situation in Calais. We were heavily involved teaching children at that time so we said that we could not travel to the studio. They called us back and said that they would still like us to do a small piece from France. So we agreed to do a brief call via Skype from France. This week Sky news once again asked if we could comment on matters at Calais by coming into the studio. As we were in the UK and could make the time available without disadvantaging any children, we therefore agreed and went in to the studio to do the piece requested.
When dealing with the media we are mindful of our core principles: we are not a political or religious organisation and we do not talk about individuals. When the Guardian visited us earlier this month we therefore declined the opportunities to comment upon politicians or political strategies. There are plenty of other charities and pressure groups able to make public representation on those kinds of issues. Our core purpose is the education of children and it is very important that we do not get distracted from that by temptations to focus time and energy into political campaigning. It is often said that some of the worst temptations are those temptations to do something that is ‘good’ or laudable. Political campaigning is an important aspect of supporting vulnerable groups, but it is precisely because there are many other groups doing that (and there are so very few groups directly educating children) that we believe we should just stay focused on the education of children.
In addition to communications with ‘casual’ media we also have a significant ongoing media commitment in the form of a documentary which is being made. The documentary team are very discrete and we hardly notice them anymore. We think they are probably going to have their work cut out, as everything we do is focused around creating quiet, calm, orderly classrooms which are as ‘uneventful’ as we can make them.
As the week closes we are also finalising plans for our next visit to Greece. We have about a dozen camps which are interested in us providing education to refugee children in their camps. We just do not have anywhere near the funding necessary to work immediately with all the children that need an education. So we are visiting camps with a view to identifying which camp would be the best camp to start working in. We are looking for a camp that is stable, well managed and centrally located so that if further funding comes along, we can expand out of it and start providing an education to other children.